While fine dining might grab more press and shinier awards, fast casual is the largest growing restaurant sector around the world—and has been since 2015.
The name of the game isn’t just speed or price; if it was, fast food will still be earning top honors. Nope, fast casual continues to soar because it offers a superior customer experience. It’s all about serving great food to busy people on a budget.
Sounds good, right? Well, there’s one way to make it even better—and to ensure that your fast casual restaurant scores top marks on review sites like Yelp: make your guests’ dining experience more convenient.
Here are three ways to increase convenience at your fast casual restaurant starting right now.
#1. Go for mobile notifications
Waiting to pick up your meal at a counter is one of the few downsides to fast casual. Even worse? Perching on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if your name has been called. Hello, anxiety!
With a waitlist app like Waitlist Me, you can now text your guests when their meal is ready for pick-up. That means they can sit down and relax while they wait to nosh. It’ll cut down on noise in your restaurant and decrease customer stress (and the amount of food growing cold on the counter). No more crowding impatiently around the counter? That’s a win in our book!
#2. Take your waitlist online
Sure, the food might be worth the wait, but a wait isn’t what fast casual diners are looking for (see the “fast” in “fast casual”). From breakfast to lunch and dinner through late-night, nobody’s looking to stand around and watch other people scarf down goodies. That’s where an online waitlist comes in handy.
Waitlist Me offers a widget you can easily add to your restaurant’s website. Once it’s there, diners can hop on-line digitally, and walk through your door at just the right time. Bonus? Use our option to let customers join your list straight from their Google search, no website updates required.
#3. Offer easy take-out and delivery options
Not every diner wants to park it in-house. And you know what? That’s just fine for your bottom line. An emptier restaurant gives newcomers the idea that you’re ready and waiting to serve them without requiring you to sacrifice orders. In their mind, they’ve arrived ahead of the crowd. In yours, you’re still busy fulfilling orders without needing the tables and chairs to accommodate them.
Make this a reality by setting your fast casual restaurant up online for easy take-out ordering. If your area offers delivery options—think: Postmates, UberEats, Seamless, or Grubhub—create special pick-up zone for delivery drivers. That way, they can get in and get out, and your diners can enjoy hot, fresh food from the comfort of their own home.
Remember, every time you make a change, you need to let your customers know! Add it to your website, have employees mention it when guests order, and post it around your restaurant.
Our favorite way to ensure diners are in the know 24/7 is to post updates on an in-restaurant monitor, along with your waitlist. Waitlist Me Pro lets you do this easily, and there are no limits to what you include! Whether you’re celebrating your 1,000th 5-star rating, are offering a limited-time special, or you’re launching a loyalty program, anything goes. (Hint: funny cat videos work, too.)